The UPM Shotton mill provides an example of how integrated processes enable UPM to maximise the possibilities of reuse for its by-products throughout the production process.
The Shotton paper mill already processes 640,000 tonnes of dry, recovered paper every year and produces paper out of it. In February 2011, the new materials recovery facility at UPM Shotton was launched to process additional mixed materials including plastics, cans and other household recyclables gathered in the UK’s domestic recycling system.
The recovery facility is able to sort up to 250,000 tonnes of mixed materials sourced from across the UK once fully operational. Around 120,000 tonnes are newspapers and magazines, providing 20% of the recovered paper used as a raw material in the mill’s paper production process.
Shotton’s system for handling recovered paper in turn produces its own waste – the wet residue known as ‘pulper rejects’ – consisting mostly of paper fibres, plastics, cans and oddments. This residue can normally be burnt to produce energy, but this was not possible on the UPM Shotton site, and an alternative solution had to be developed.
The challenge was to find a way to make the 20,000 tonnes of waste useful and to add value. The project has produced a unique solution and system for handling production waste.
The result involves a new partnership with external waste management experts who, together, created a new product: fibrefuel, pellets created mostly from paper fibre retrieved from the wet waste. The new product will be returned to UPM Shotton to generate energy, burning cleanly and completely.
Some conventional technology, screens and magnets, but also new flotation technology, unique in the UK, will be used to separate materials. Plastics will be flash dried, granulated and bagged into a saleable product that can be used to make, among other things, furniture and railway sleepers.